To provide a safe and socially distant Halloween activity for Vermillion, USD held a drive-through trick-or-treating even outside the DakotaDome on Oct. 29.
Doug Wagner, director of student programming and the Muenster University Center, said the event was conceived when Student Services and several other campus groups came together and asked what they could do to give Vermillion a Halloween experience despite the pandemic.
From there, Wagner said, the organizers moved quickly, getting the word out into the community as well as recruiting students to volunteer and give out candy at the event.
“We asked some of our partners with University Relations to focus on reaching out to some of the Vermillion schools … to let parents know that we were doing this,” Wagner said. “Simultaneously, I reached out to student organizations on our campus.”
Thirty-five student organizations volunteered for the event. Students were required to wear gloves if they decided not to pre-package their candy, which they handed to kids and parents through car windows.
Student Services bought additional candy, Wagner said, because they started to get nervous the student organizations would run out. He said in total, about 400 cars drove through the event.
Wagner said he thought it was cool to see kids in their costumes participate in the event, and that he’s proud of student organizations and USD for organizing the event and creating a special memory for the kids of Vermillion.
“It made me really proud of the community that we have here on campus that we can all come together and do something really special for others,” Wagner said.
Abuk Jiel, President of the Student Government Association, volunteered for the event. She said the community was appreciative of the university for putting the event together.
“The kids were really happy, the parents were very thankful. I think almost every other car was like ‘thank you for doing this, thank you for staying out here,’” Jiel said. “And when you’re little I feel like these are just things that you remember.”
Carter Larson, Vice President of SGA, said all the families were excited to drive through the event, and that the event ran really smoothly.
“I heard some parents telling us this is their only way of trick or treating this year, so a lot of them showed a lot of appreciation and thankfulness, which was exciting to see,” Larson said.